Every athlete wants to outlast Father Time — or at least give Father Time some decent competition. But it’s easier to do that in some sports than others.
Most professional football players, for example, retire from their sport at 35. Yet at 107, Gus Andreone was the oldest member of the Professional Golfers Association of America and scored his eighth career hole in one when he was 103.
Not everyone can be like Gus, of course. But older golfers who aspire to keep their game in top shape will benefit from regular golf exercises. We’ve put together the best golf exercises for older golfers, including tips on how to improve the senior golf swing. We also have some recommendations on the best golf swing for seniors.
Time to tee up smart golf tips
Before we get into specifics, it should be noted that in 2023, Golf Digest named Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach one of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses. It came in at an impressive number 10, and was only one of two Florida golf courses to make the list.
Also, the storied PGA National Resort is less than 10 miles from Juno Beach, with its legendary 18-hole golf course, guest rooms, spa, restaurants and state-of-the-art sports and racquet club. The resort has won numerous accolades, including Conde Nast traveler Readers’ Choice Award in 2022. Through a special partnership, residents of The Waterford enjoy unique access to all the resort has to offer (especially nice when residents’ friends and family come for a visit) — but more on that later.
First, we have some helpful golf tips to share.
- Always practice the fundamentals. Golf is a game of good fundamentals. Having good posture, proper club grip and the right alignment of the body makes a significant difference in everyone’s golf game.
For an older golfer, the proper fundamentals are learned over years of practice. So even if an older golfer begins to lose the driving power for their long game, their short game is still incredibly sharp. That’s because of the years of repetition in making a putting stroke, or hitting chip and pitch shots, and because they continually apply solid fundamentals they’ve practiced over decades of playing golf.
- Get the right equipment. An older golfer’s strength and flexibility may not be what it once was. Upgrading to equipment designed for older golfers can actually enhance a senior golfer’s game, including the senior’s golf swing.
The primary difference between regular golf clubs and senior golf clubs is the shaft in the club. Senior golfers typically aren’t able to generate the same swing speed as their younger playing partners, but lighter shafts with more flex allow older golfers to generate more speed in their golf swing. Depending on the club set, some clubs can improve accuracy, offer more loft on the ball and feature a larger sweet spot on the club head.
- Focus on the scoring zone. A proficient short game is the fastest way to lower a golf score. For any golfer, regardless of age, having a sharp game from 100 yards and in is essential for scoring success. Senior golfers should really put an emphasis on practicing in this area.
Any time an older golfer’s ball gets inside the 100-yard zone in the middle of the fairway, they’ve entered the scoring zone. Unless they have a truly bad lie, their mindset should be to get the ball in the hole in no more than three strokes from here.
- Focus on endurance. It’s incredibly tempting to enjoy a golf cart rental and a cooler of cold beverages during a golf game, especially on warm summer days. However, riding 18 holes in a cart does nothing for a golfer’s endurance.
One of the best exercises for golfers is walking the entire course. Walking is one of the best ways to improve endurance and helps golfers play well for longer.
- Don’t neglect the senior golf swing. One of the best ways for seniors to improve their golf swing is to ensure that their grip, setup, stance and posture are perfect before taking the club back. Once those things are in place, it’s time to work on balance and clubhead speed. For most seniors, less movement is better than more.
One of the smartest things a senior golfer can do is to master a three-quarter golf swing. That’s what really leads to the best golf swing for seniors. The three-quarter golf swing limits the distance the club goes back, decreases movement in the golf swing and helps ensure that they make more solid contact with the golf ball.
Time to introduce golf stretches
Every golfer should perform simple golf exercises before playing a round of golf. It’s a good bet Gus Andreone knew very well how physically demanding the game could be; a proper warm-up exercise routine helps to avoid injury and improves overall flexibility. Begin with these three basic golf exercises.
- Shoulder swing wall stretch: Golf swings are very hard on the shoulders. This stretch helps manage shoulder pain. Start with feet shoulder-width apart. Raise right arm across chest, placing the opposite hand on right elbow. Move right wrist toward left thumb, pointing thumb upward. Rotate torso to the left. Tug on right elbow. Hold for 30 seconds. Hold left elbow with right hand. Turn the torso to the right and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 2 to 5 times.
- Resistance band stretches: Band exercises are a great way for senior golfers to improve their golf game because they help strengthen muscles and increase flexibility. They also help improve balance and stability. Start with the banded stretch. Place a mini resistance band around both legs above the knees. With feet about shoulder-width apart, bend knees and push the buttocks back. Lower down until knees are bent to about 90 degrees (or as low as it’s comfortable to go). On an exhale, reverse the motion and stand back up, fighting the resistance of the band against the knees and hips. Repeat 10-15 times in three sets.
- Standing stretch with club: Basic standing golf exercises can be done to enhance golf swing speed. One of these exercises is rotational stretches. Take the heavier end (iron’s clubface) and place it in the palm of the non-dominant hand. The dominant hand will hold the opposite end of the golf club. Hold the golf club shaft in front of the body, rotate in a golf swing to the top of the backswing and then follow through. Do this motion slowly, completing a full turn. This stretching will help gain swing speed.
According to golflink.com, there are nearly 100 golf courses near Juno Beach. For older golfers looking for golf courses near Miami, they’ll discover 70: 14 golf courses in Miami, and another 31 golf courses within 20 miles of Miami.
There’s also one remarkable senior living community in Juno Beach that offers older adults — both golfers and non-golfers alike — the opportunity to create their best lives, every day. It’s The Waterford, a Lifespace community. Need an additional perk? The Waterford partners with the PGA National Resort and Spa so our residents can enjoy access to the links, the spa services and a discount on hotel prices.